Some Trips are Worth Repeating

Sometimes a brief getaway with friends is exactly what you need to restore your center, step outside your routine, push your worries to the recesses of your mind, free your spirit.  We recently spent the weekend with a group of friends in MI–two years in a row of glorious weather, biking, fire pits, cooking, laughing over morning coffee, sharing wine, lunch at a local and super-friendly bar, strolling the beach, picking berries, talking, laughing, reading, spending a moment alone.  And a surprise boat ride with new friends at sunset, along the shoreline.

Different experiences from last year, but the same warm memories.



walking and talking
A lunch destination. Cheap, local, welcoming, fun.


Sunset on Lake Michigan








For some pictures from last year’s adventure, visit this post.  C


Chicago Morn

A fabulous Sunday morning with stellar blue skies, Lake Michigan sparkling in the sun, flowering trees lining Millenium Park, Chicago is THE best city to be in.  Bob and I enjoyed a 1 1/2 hour bike ride yesterday–no kids, no schedule, no plans.  A rarity.  Boy, it brought back memories of riding my bike to work down Lake Shore Drive and taking Maxx to the lake. 

We certainly were not lonely on the lakefront.  Everyone had shed their parkas and boots and a few most of their clothes to enjoy a summerlike warmth.  People were biking, running, skating, strollering, walking their dogs, playing soccer/volleyball/baseball/frisbee, a brave couple swimming, building sandcastles, photographing, phoning, dining, snoring, sunning, watching, laughing, talking, kiting, biting, boating, singing, sunning, dancing, fishing, smoking, enjoying. Living. Loving. Being.

What a perfect morning. C

Chicago Loves

Other than the weather, what’s not to love about Chicago?  I’m sitting in a coffee shop, after walking across the city  from the train station on a frigid below zero morning (with wind chill–like the “lack of humidity” in the Arizona heat that keeps it cool, the winter wind makes it colder than seems possible.  Where are all the hot-aired politicians to warm it up?  Oh yeah, one was arrested by the feds last week).

People are bundled up like toddlers, shuffling along the city streets, bike messengers delivering packages, eyes watering, ipods playing, furs on men and women–can’t an ash from your cigarette catch that fur on fire?, cars stream along the city streets, the highways are bumper to bumper, the train windows fog as passengers fill the aisles.

So many reasons to love Chicago in all seasons.  Here are just a few of mine:

1. The Bears

2. Hour train rides to enjoy all the city has to explore–only $5 on the weekends!

3. FREE Lincoln Park Zoo

4. The Bean, Milennium Park, and Buckingham fountain

5. Theatre–so many great shows, too little time and cash.  And the inside of the glorious Chicago Theatre

6. Large venues and corner bars to watch up-and-coming or fading away bands

7. Cool graffiti

8.  A myriad of ethnic neighborhoods to embrace whatever culture you wish

9.  Lake Michigan on a sunny day–floating diamonds!

10.  Bike trails along the lake

11.  Hidden parks for kids to play

12.  Free ice skating in winter

13.  That we allow Disney to “sponsor” the lighting of Michigan Ave. for Christmas.  Talk about selling out!

14.  The White Sox–and northside/southside rivalries. Sorry, all my Cub friends

15.  In the Loop, gridlike steets that are numbered numerically, so it’s easy to find places.

16. FREE summer festivals, farmers markets and art shows

17.  Great shopping, if you like that type of thing

18.  Underground bars, and ones high above the city

19.  The Chicago skyline.  Best in the world, look north from by the Planetarium for a great photo op

20. Fab friends who share a city condo with their friends.

21. Natives who think this city rules over NYC.

22.  WXRT. 

This list could be endless.  Add what you like about Chicago in the comment section, if you wish.  May the clear blue skies and beaming sun warm your hearts, if not your cheeks.  C

Weekend Getaway #1

Nine children, ages 2 to 13, climbed up the hill from the Lake Michigan beach to the rented villa at Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, WI.  They had a very busy morning of playing in the tall grasses, building forts with old branches and weaving grasses together for the sides then jumping in the frigid water to cool off. Ah, the creativity when the TV and ipods and video games are turned off is amazing.

We parents relaxed on the beach,  strolling to the water’s edge, then wandering to see the kid’s project in creation, enjoying the slow weekend.  Blue Harbor was a fabulous nearby family getaway–only a 2 hour drive, where we could enjoy the beach in the morning, the indoor water park in the rainy afternoon, and sneaking to the outdoor pool when the sun reappeared.

We had as much fun as the kids on the twisty slides, racing each other on tubes and without.  When the bell sounded, everyone hustled to stand under the boat where 1000 lbs of water would dump on our heads.  And then finishing the waterpark time with a stint in the hot tub.

We had fascinating evening weather–enjoying cocktails on our deck while there were lightening storms where the horizon joined the water, clouds miraculously appearing as the thunder rumbled, then streaks of lightning crashing down to the waves.  After several hours of this fascinating sky, an orange orb cautiously arose from the water, peeking behind the clouds, then the moon lit the beach as it finally rested proudly above the receding clouds.

Having vacationed with the other 2 families before, we easily shared the food and drink preparation throughout the weekend.  It was great to have an extended time to spend with each other, catching up.  While running one morning, Sara and I saw many fisherman with their recent catches laid out on the dock for purchase. 

On our departure we shared a picnic of all the leftover food in a park, donning sweatshirts and hoping to avoid the raindrops. We then started to plan for next year, hoping to explore the town more.  C